Do you think you might possible be having vegan deficiencies? When you change diets or remove food groups, it is important to be aware of all the precautions to take.
If you feel that something is not right - do speak with your doctor and/or nutritionist to make sure you're getting what you need to in order for your body to be healthy.
Here are some things to think about if you have decided to follow a vegan diet or if you've been following it for a while.
1. Where to Get the Right PROTEIN
Okay let's start with the most obvious. When someone becomes vegetarian or vegan the most commonly asked question is "but where are you getting your protein"? To be honest, if you aren't getting enough protein, you aren't trying hard enough. It is found in many different foods. You can get it from beans, lentils, kale, greens, nut milk, nut butter, quinoa and wild rice, etc.
2. VITAMIN D
Vitamin D2 is found in plant foods, but D3 is often hard to find because it is too often found in animal products. So be careful of the sources you find it from if you are going vegan. The most common is sunlight but it can be harder to get in the fall or winter time. Therefore you can look for cereal, plant milks, some tofu, and mushrooms that are treated with UV rays. If you need to take supplements, speak to a healthcare professional first.
3. VITAMIN B12
Other types of vitamin B are often found through eating regular vegan food such as berries. However B12 is normally only found in animal products. Some cereals, nut milks and nutritional yeast (used to make things have a cheesy taste) have it fortified into its product. Just make sure to read the labels so you can find the right choices.
This is one of the easier deficiencies to overcome without needing to take supplements. However women do need a higher level of iron than the opposite sex because of the blood we lose during that time of the month. Foods such as sunflower seeds, beans, chickpeas, dried fruit, chia seeds, linseed, and cashews have a higher level of iron. Consuming enough iron can also usually help with some unwanted cramps.
5. OMEGA-3 Fatty Acids
This is tricky because some vegan foods, like orange juice, contain omega-3s, but it comes from fish oil so it's not actually vegan. Therefore you have to look for foods that naturally have omega-3 fatty acids such as chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, and hemp seeds.
This is a tricky one because most iodine sources are from seafood. You can look to seaweed but there are some types that may have too much. Some salts from the sea are workable, so instead of using salt in cooking when I would normally, I add a bit of sea salt. Plants that come from the sea differ because it depends on where they were grown.
"Calcium grows strong bones". This is the first thing I thought of when considering going vegan. It is often found in milk or yogurt and can still be found in some plant milks and yogurts. A few other things that have calcium are flax seeds, some tofu, pak choy, kale, dried figs, chia and almonds.
Sometimes on plant-based food diets some people have to consume more zinc than a regular diet. Therefore some sources include beans, pumpkin seeds, tofu, hemp seeds, quinoa and cacao nibs.
Always talk to doctors before taking supplements because it could be dangerous to take too much or if you are combining the supplements with any kind of medication. Get tested if you are really concerned.